#RecipeForSuccess: Essential Tips and Tools for Startups

If only there was a definite recipe for success that every start-up could follow… then life would be half as fun?! While we can’t give you a step-by-step guide to guaranteed success, we can share some essential tips that we’ve picked up our journey and some excellent tools that we simply coulnd’t do without.

Every worker needs his tools. Instead of spending lots of time organising your operations or keeping track of your accounts, try these simple tools that we have come to love over the years.

Simplify your operations with Trello

When building a business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the different tasks that needed doing yesterday! Thankfully, there’s Trello. This nifty tool will take a load off your shoulders. Trello is a free and simple-to-use software that lets you organise and assign tasks to different people within your team, so you can keep a track of where everyone is at.

For Cre8ion, Trello is an essential tool in our operations department. It helps us document and keep track of jobs across the different departments. By labeling the tasks with Marketing, Digital, Design, Editorial or Production, we can easily get an overview of what jobs need doing within each department, and where jobs are in the pecking order.

And there’s a hidden bonus. Trello is also where we record the hours that we put into each job. Time and money are important for any business, but especially for a start-up. So this is extremely useful information, as we can use the past to predict the future and estimate how long certain jobs will take. Whether it’s building an entire website or editing a short 2-minute marketing video, Trello helps us plan our time and resources better.

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An example of a Trello board that lets you keep track of different tasks within the team. Source: www.trello.com

Store your accounts on the cloud with Xero

Accounts can be a headache for any startup. Keeping track of how much has been spent each month and what the money has been spent on can easily get overwhelming, and throw any entrepreneur off-balance. It certainly felt overwhelming at times for us. Until we found Xero.

Xero is a real simple accounting program that’s stored in the cloud, allowing you to input all of your company’s financial data, and then access it from anywhere. Xero doesn’t require you to have a degree in accounting or finance – all you need is an internet connection and a device that lets you access the cloud.

Whether you’re working on your laptop, iPad or smartphone, Xero allows you to keep a track of the finances just as easily. For Cre8ion, Xero gives us a birds-eye view of our finances. We can see profit and loss comparatively and easily measure company growth. If you are looking for other options for all your accounting needs, QuickBooks is a great choice as well.

While tools are important, they’re not everything. It’s also about having the right people in your team, making the right connections and always pursuing your vision. These are the universal lessons that we’ve learnt in our entrepreneurial journey.

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With Xero, you can access your financial accounts from any device, anywhere. Source: www.xero.com

Surround yourself with really, really great people

The beauty of the human condition is that none of us are perfect. Some people are naturals at connecting the dots, while others can work with meticulous precision even if the task seems repetitive and dull. The real strength of a business leader lies in their ability to identify their own weak points. You can’t be the best at everything, so surround yourself with quality people that plug the gaps when it comes to your weaknesses.

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As well as having stars in our own in-house team, we’d like to give a shout-out to all these wonderful people who have been invaluable in helping us grow and thrive in our first year!

Entrepreneurial Spark
Lloyd Skinner
Sunflower Accounts
Mango HR
Executive Foundation

Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration

You may have heard of competition but we believe that collaboration is a far more important. By collaborating with the right people, you’ll help your business thrive with the skills that complement your work. Simply put, if you work together with professionals from other companies, you can reach higher goals faster.

Over the years, we have worked with the Graphic Designer Andy Patterson-Jones on multiple projects. We’re now on a fruitful collaboration which has seen us work with high profile clients such as Maddox Gallery and Oportfolio in London, and more recently, Jaguar Vector Racing. That’s why for us, collaboration is more important than competition.

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A website we built for our clients Maddox Gallery in Mayfair, London

Have a clear vision

We’ve saved the best for the last. The most important tip that we can give to any business is to always have a clear vision in your mind. And don’t lose track of your mission. (In other words, the reason why your business exists in the first place.) We’ve seen this in practice time and time again with our clients – before we start building a plan for brand marketing, we identify their vision and mission, and where they want to be in a few years’ time. This helps guide the entire marketing strategy, as well as navigate their own path.

Once you’ve got it defined, focus on building your vision. And as you do, take some time out to reflect. Ask yourself whether your decisions are building your vision or distracting your business from it? Anything is possible if you pursue your vision, but it’s important that you don’t make quick and impulsive business decisions. For example, don’t buy that company equipment just because it’s cheap and available if it’s not the right fit for your business. This will more likely veer you away from your vision. Be patient and wait for the right opportunity.  Always focus on building, adding what you need when it is appropriate and available.

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To wrap up…

We believe that any startup can thrive, if they keep their vision in focus, surround themselves with great people and build collaborations. And you don’t have to do it all – there are some fantastic tools like Trello and Xero to help you with those dull but necessary organisational tasks. Good luck on your journey!

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